We are very different in so many ways. He is very outdoorsy: he hunts, he fishes, and constantly works outdoors. I was always a book worm, who liked books better than sports. I’ve learned to like the outdoors: I walk nature trails, I like to hike, and I even like to fish occasionally. Whereas my father worked outside all his life, I prefer to work inside, research, writing, teaching, etc. There are a lot of other differences as well. We can generally have a conversation for about 15-20 minutes before we get into some type of argument. My father has never felt I was right about anything. I can be agreeing with him, and he will fuss at me for agreeing with him. No matter what I say, he will say the opposite. The other day, I made a remark about a house being painted white (it used to be gray), he argued with me that the house was painted gray, just a lighter shade. Everyone else I know says the house is white, but he still says that it is gray. It’s that sort of thing that drives me crazy. Needless to day, we barely get along. I love him nonetheless, I just don’t like him sometimes. He can be very cruel and frustrating.
To switch gears a little bit, I want to tell you also how great my father can be, without me ever knowing it. This is part of the reason that I forgive so much of the misery he causes me. When my parents found out I was gay, it was a very traumatic experience for all concerned. My mother had suspected for quite a while and was being very nosy. She checked my email. She didn’t like some of the emails that she saw. Most of them, if not all, were fairly innocent, but there were some like an ad from Showtime about “Queer as Folk” and maybe another one from gay.com. I was over at my grandmother’s checking on her, when my mother called me and confronted me about it. I was tired of denying it. All of my friends knew, so why shouldn’t she. I knew she wouldn’t like it. She had confronted me several years before about it, and I denied it then. I wasn’t ready, and to make sure that I never was, my mother told me, “If I would rather have a dick up my ass, then be part of this family, then I should go ahead and leave. They would have nothing more to do with me.” When this time came around, we got into a huge argument. I yelled, she yelled, and I left. I was still dependent on them for some things, but I could live without them. My mother went to bed and cried for the next two weeks. BTW, this all happened two days before Christmas, while I was home on Christmas break. When my father got home, he talked to my mother about what was wrong. She told him. She tells him everything. This was one of the times when he sided with me.
He told my mother, that I was there child. She could not stop loving me, just because she did not agree with my lifestyle. He would continue to love me, and she would have to do the same. No matter what his children did, they would still love them (it may have helped that my sister married a complete and total jackass, who doesn’t physically abuse her, but abuses her mentally). Then he came and talked with me. He told me that he didn’t care what I told my mother, but to tell her something or she would die in that bed in there (you don’t know my mother, but she would have). Then he told me what surprised me the most, “I should have taught you how to fight the urges. I am sorry that I failed you.” It is the only time my father ever apologized to me for anything. I never asked about the urges, but I am pretty sure I know what he was talking about. He knew exactly how I felt. He had been there himself, but he had chosen a different path. Maybe that is why they still believe it is a choice. But I see the misery in him almost everyday. I went to my parents and told them both that I was celibate and would remain that way, and I had never acted on my sexuality (yes it was a lie, but it was one I think was and still is for the better). They made me promise that I would not tell anyone else in the family, and I have agreed to that. Our family has become a “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss” Zone. It is not my preference but it is what I must deal with for the time being. If I ever find a man to live my life with, I will deal with the other consequences then. I don’t think I could hide from my family the love of my life (if he ever comes along).
They still consider my being gay a lifestyle choice, I never will. I would have never chosen this myself. I would have chosen to live a more open life, but that is mostly not possible where I live now, and especially not with my job. But I know what makes me happy, and after a lot of prayer and meditation, God told me that love is what matters most in this world. I came to understand that if I lived a lie and married a woman, I would make her and my life miserable (somewhat like my father has). If I was going to be alone, then I would be alone. At least I wouldn’t be hurting someone else. I realize that some people had more pressures to get married and have a family and come out later in life. I do not fault them for that, it was a different time and different circumstances. But in this day and age, I felt I could not lie to myself or anyone else and spend a large portion of my life as a lie.
Dolly lends her vocals for a live version of Holly Dunn's timeless classic song, "Daddy's Hands." This song reminds me a lot of my Daddy for many reasons and has been one of my favorite songs for a long time. Holly Dunn is also one of my all-time favorite country singers, too bad she had retired from country music. She’s now an artists in the Southwest.
Reba McEntire singing “The Greatest Man.” This is a truly great song and also describes my relationship between me and my Daddy, although I don’t know if he thinks I “hung the moon.” My mother always says he brags about me to everyone, but I also remember him telling me once when I made a 99 (out of 100) on my report card, “Can’t you do better than that.” He was kidding with me, but it didn’t feel like it at the time, especially since some of my grades on that report card were above 100. Also, my Daddy is still alive, but he is one of the greatest men I have ever known. I hope this post proves that.
Some of you may have read much of this post before. I not only used it for my Father's Day post last year on my other blog, but I also used much of this text in one of my coming out posts. I still think that it is a fitting tribute to my father, and I plan to use it each Father's Day for as long as this blog is published.